Maritime Balkan routes

Despite the prevalence of trade over land, South Eastern Europe (SEE) also contains more than a hundred ports and 12 container terminals, which are important entry and exit points for trade in the Adriatic, Aegean, Black and Ionian Seas, as well as along the Danube.

The report Portholes: Exploring the maritime Balkan routes, prepared by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI_TOC), reveals that there is also a maritime Balkan route bringing drugs into SEE through key commercial seaports: cocaine from Latin America and heroin via Türkiye and the Middle East. Other commodities being smuggled along this route include weapons, waste, counterfeit goods and cigarettes. In addition, it provides a glimpse of smuggling along the Danube.

The case studies, which feature nine of the region’s commercial ports, are a central element of this report. These ports were chosen to provide an overview of different types of ports (based on size, ownership, location and history of seizures) and to assess their vulnerability to organized crime.

The report is available following this link>>>.

 

 

Youth and organised crime in the Balkans

Photo © Klub MASA Mostar

Across the Western Balkans, young people are engaged in or vulnerable to a variety of organized criminal activities, including the cultivation and trafficking of drugs, sex work, trafficking in human beings, extortion and car theft or as foot soldiers for criminal groups. Others decide to leave the country irregularly, are smuggled abroad and get involved in criminal activity, particularly in the EU.

What is the role of Western Balkan youth in organized crime? What factors make them vulnerable? What can be done to get them off the escalator of crime and prevent recidivism?

Although youth in the Western Balkans are exposed to and engaged in organized crime, civil society organizations (CSOs) either run by or working with them can be key sources of community resilience. Youth, generally accepted as people between the ages of 15 and 29, should be considered as an asset rather than a problem: a source of energy, innovation and courage, as well as fresh ideas and approaches to strengthen integrity and reduce the risk posed by organized crime.

The Strengthening resilience of youth to organized crime brief is part of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) ‘Resilient Balkans’ series, which looks at topics of common interest to civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Western Balkans dealing with issues related to organized crime. This brief focuses on what makes youth vulnerable to organized crime in the region and looks at how CSOs are working with youth to strengthen resilience.

This report is an output of the GI-TOC’s Observatory of Illicit Economies in South Eastern Europe and the GI-TOC’s Resilience Fund. The report is based on data, information and analyses collected and shared by civil society actors based in the Western Balkan region

To read the Report, follow this link>>>.

 

Civil Society Observatory’s Risk Bulletin

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) published Issue 5 of the Risk Bulletin produced by the Civil Society Observatory to Counter Organized Crime in South Eastern Europe.

Among other stories, you can read some related to drugs:

A renaissance of crime in Novi Pazar?

A spate of violent incidents has put Novi Pazar in southern Serbia back on the map as a hotspot of organized crime. The city, situated along key trafficking routes, once had the reputation of being the main heroin warehouse in Europe. We look at its past and present links to illicit economies.

Synthetic drugs in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans is well known as a transit region for the trafficking of drugs, like cannabis, cocaine and heroin. But, as examined in this article, there are signs that the region is also a producer of synthetic drugs, as well as a growing consumer market.

Lessons learned from cannabis legalization in North Macedonia

In March 2016, North Macedonia legalized the cultivation and export of cannabis for medicinal use. We look at lessons learned from North Macedonia’s experience over the past five years, particularly related to regulation, and the dangers of legally-grown cannabis landing on the black market.

To read full the Bulletin, follow this link>>>.

 

GI TOC is a network of more than 500 experts on organised crime drawn from law enforcement, academia, conservation, technology, media, the private sector and development agencies. It publishes research and analysis on emerging criminal threats and works to develop innovative strategies to counter organised crime globally. To receive monthly Risk Bulletin updates an read more interesting stories and analysis from the region, please sign up following this link>>>.